My big audacious goal is to write and direct a movie, so you might be curious why I’ve only spoken about screenwriting and not directing on this blog.
There are a few esoteric reasons — and one big, fat, practical reason…
The practical reason is money. Directing requires a lot of it.
I know you’re saying, “Well that was true in the past, but you can shoot a movie on an iPhone now”.
That’s technically true. But what’s the last movie you watched that was shot on a phone?
Besides, just because cameras have gotten cheaper and more accessible doesn’t mean that what you put in front of them has decreased in cost at all. Sets, costumes, lights, and props don’t get cheaper just because you’re shooting a movie on a camera you bought at Costco.
Screenwriting, on the other hand, is essentially free. More importantly, the content of what you write is totally unlimited by financial concerns.
Another reason I’m focusing on writing over directing is simply a matter of personal preference: directing is physically and emotionally exhausting… And I’m saying that as a person who loves directing. When you couple those burdens with the time-consuming nature and financial expenses of directing, you end up realizing that directing projects you aren’t passionate about is a huge waste of energy.
Time and effort are finite resources — screenwriting is simply a more efficient use of these resources.
Am I specifically avoiding directing?
Not at all.
In fact, I already have a director’s reel. But screenwriting is more versatile. I can directly sell any script that I write. Or if the script is really something I want to direct (like my current one), the script functions as a business plan for attracting investors and talent.
The danger in pursuing screenwriting over directing is that investors will look at me and say, “sure it’s a great script, but what makes you think you can direct it?”
The answer is that I will have already directed it once in my head, during the writing process.
On a more practical level, as the script nears completion, l will develop a “look book” that includes storyboards, design ideas, and ideally, a short pre-vis sequence to give investors an idea of the tone and character I want the movie to have.
But before any of that can happen, I have to write a killer script.